In 1995 I was exposed to the dulcet sounds of west coast rap for the first time. Having been raised in the oh so rural east my exposure to rap up to that point consisted of House of Pain and little else (I think I remember someone mentioning Dr. Dre but I assumed that was some kind of anti-fungal ointment at the time).You can imagine my surprise however when I learned that not all rap included bagpipes and was performed by Irish Bostonians.
The irony that this knowledge came to me in oh-so-very-white Utah (I'm talking polar bear in a blizzard, white)still makes me laugh. I think I'm supposed to say at this point that "I'm not fronting", but if you look at the demographics of my earliest upbringing and my collegial locale you'll understand that I have know idea what that even means. My introduction to hip-hop had nothing to do with Brigham Young University as an institution, but everything to do with my new apartment and my first glorious exposure to Music Television.
For our younger reading audience I know this might seem a bit confusing. Let me explain. There was a time in the mid-1990s when the organization known as MTV played music videos. These videos they'd squeeze in between episodes of Beavis and Butthead. In case you don't know what music videos are, please check YouTube. If you don't know what Beavis and Butthead is...well you're probably better off.
MTV was a revelation for me. Not only did I get to admire the beauty of the ladies of TLC, but I for the first time was exposed to the hypnotic beats of Tupac's "California Love" amongst others. My infatuation with this new media also explains the 2.8 and 2.1 GPAs that I earned during this first year in the halls of higher learning.
Amongst the many great songs released that year was one by that wonderful "purveyor of beats" and original "gangsta" rapper, Coolio. That's right I'm talking about "Gangsta's Paradise". This anthem describing the suffering of the urban poor ranks right up there with such songs as Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth", The Rolling Stones "Paint it Black", The Boss's "Born in the USA", and the Aquabats' "Captain Hampton & the Midget Pirates" in terms of social consciousness.
I bring this up, because today I experienced paradise. No not a gangsta's, nor a celestial, nor even a pizza paradise. Today I experienced a nerd's paradise. Today we got rid of a bookshelf. This meant one glorious thing for me. I got to reorganize my bookshelves. I went with a dual organization. All the fiction went into Wife's office. All the classics and some of the history went on the custom shelves and the mix of religion and history went on the cheapo Sauder shelves. Of course everything was alphabetized by author and then title. I just hope that someday I have enough books to devise my own Dewey Decimal type system....how's that for anal retentive?
Yen mentioned this song in an earlier comment so here it is. Oh and Christmas was wonderful, Wife made a ham that was out of this world.